St. Louis just keeps rolling along, winning Tuesday by scoring five runs in the last two innings. This handicapper is hoping the Cardinals can complete the sweep of Washington Wednesday night.
Nationals-Cardinals Wednesday Odds
As of this writing the best line we could find on St. Louis with Michael Wacha was the -120 offered at 5Dimes, while Washington and Max Scherzer were getting +114 at 5Dimes. And every book on our MLB odds board listed a total on tonight's game of 6.5 runs.
St. Louis has taken the first two games of this series, after rallying for a second-straight 8-5 decision Tuesday night. So the Cardinals have won four games in a row, and nine of their last 10.
At 86-46 St. Louis now leads the NL Central by six games over second-place Pittsburgh, while owning the best record in baseball.
Meanwhile, at 66-65 Washington, which had won six of eight coming into this series, trails the first-place Mets by 6.5 games in the NL East, and the Cubs by nine games in the National League wild-card race. So time is running out for the Nats, a preseason favorite to win the NL pennant.
The Cardinals now lead this season series four games to one, with the OVERS going 3-2.
This pitching match-up is a rematch of a game played back on April 23 of this season, a 4-1 St. Louis victory.
Wacha (15-4, 2.69), by our tough standards, is 17-for-25 on quality starts this season, working on a run of six in a row. Last Friday he gave up four runs in six innings against San Francisco, but all those runs came on one swing of the bat, and none of those runs were earned. And over his last six starts he's held opponents to just four earned runs through 39 innings. On the season Wacha has allowed 137 hits through 157 innings, walked 40 and struck out 134.
St. Louis is 19-6 in Wacha's starts this season, with the UNDERS going 13-11.
In three career starts against Washington, including a quality effort in that Cardinals victory back in April, Wacha has allowed just two ER through 22 2/3 innings; all three of those games played UNDER.
Scherzer (11-11, 2.88) is 16-for-26 on quality starts, but 0 for his last four. Last Friday he gave up four runs in seven innings against Miami, and over his last four starts he's given up 17 runs through 22 innings. On the season Scherzer has allowed 139 hits through 178 innings, walked 26 and struck out 209 for a K/BB ratio of 8/1, which borders on ridiculous.
The Nats are 13-13 in Scherzer's starts, with the UNDERS going 15-9.
In one start this year against St. Louis, in that Washington loss back in April, Scherzer gave up just two runs and six hits through seven innings.
Wednesday's Batting Splits
Washington ranks 13th in the Bigs this season against right-handed pitching with a .320 team on-base percentage, and 15th with a .403 team slugging percentage.
St. Louis ranks third against righties with a .326 team OBP and 13th with a .407 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Busch Stadium this season are a lopsided 42-21 on the UNDERS, averaging just 6.7 runs per, fewest by far among all ML ballparks.
Washington is about as healthy as it's been all season, but still missing one key ingredient; lead-off hitter Denard Span, who's now gone for the season due to a bad hip. The Nats are 12 games above .500 this season with Span, 11 games under .500 without him.
Nats-Cards Wednesday Free Picks
These two starting pitchers produced a 4-1 St. Louis victory back in April, and we could see this game playing out along similar lines. So we'll take the Cardinals for our Money Line MLB picks, paired with the UNDER.
MLB Picks: Cardinals -115 and UNDER 6.5 runs (+102) at Pinnacle